Business | Community & living | Your Council | Environment | Housing | Jobs | Leisure & culture | Planning

Overpayments - Housing Benefit

An overpayment is an amount of benefit that has been paid to someone who wasn't entitled to it.

When we give you too much benefit, we call it an overpayment. If we give you too much benefit, we will send you a letter, which will tell you:

  • why we gave you too much benefit
  • how much the overpayment is
  • if you have to pay back the amount
  • how you can appeal if you think this is wrong.

Who is overpayment recoverable from?

An overpayment is recoverable from either the person who caused the overpayment, or the person who received the overpayment.

How is benefit recovered from the claimant?

If the claimant is currently receiving housing benefit, the overpayment can be recovered from future benefit payments by a weekly deduction.

The claimant is responsible for paying any rent arrears that occur as a result of the reduced amount paid to the landlord.

If the claimant is not currently receiving housing benefit, an invoice for payment will be issued.

Recovery of an overpayment will not prejudice any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the council in respect of fraudulent overpayments.

How is benefit recovered from the landlord?

If we have decided to recover an overpayment from a landlord it will issue an invoice.

Recovery of an overpayment will not prejudice any criminal proceedings that may be taken by the Council in respect of fraudulent overpayments.

Is there a right of appeal?

For further information on reviews and the Appeals process see Appeals - Housing Benefit.

The claimant can ask for a review of a decision to calculate an overpayment. Any such request should be made within one month of the decision notice.

A landlord can request a review where recovery is being sought from him.

A landlord can write to us requesting a written statement of reasons for the recovery of an overpayment from him.

What will happen if an overpayment is not repaid?

Where an invoice remains unpaid, or an agreed arrangement to repay the debt over time is not being maintained, We may take action in the county court.

Important notes

If a landlord habitually fails to repay overpayments that are recoverable from him, the council can decide that the landlord is not a 'fit and proper person' under Benefit Regulations, and can refuse to make direct benefit payments to that landlord.

Page ref: LGSL 71

Related documents

The following document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)